Pouting, hair-pulling, and a roster of perversions otherwise unknown outside appendices to Psychopathia Sexualis... yes, it's the return of the

Marriage Competition

Not since the days of Beatlemania has there been this level of dionysiac hysteria and raw sexual frenzy. Well, not since the days of Proclaimers-mania anyway.

First filly out of the paddock is Alice the ecstatic American schoolgirl who writes:

Dear Mr. Kelly,

It is true I would not be averse to sharing Your grace, but look at it this way: I have already demonstrated facility at pretending to be a nun. [Hmm, yes, a medieval nun - but not a leather vampire nun.] I spent some portion of my childhood playing Dungeons & Dragons with my older brother and his friends so I can certainly handle the warrior elf maiden thing. (Is 38D magical enough, or will you need more wishes granted?) [38 hit dice? 3d8 damage? ...Ohhh! Boofa boofa!] And I'm sure you inspire lust and naughtiness in every tea-shop waitress you encounter anyway. [Naturally. Sort of. Well, alarm is closely related to lust.]

And not only have you already practically declared me two girls at once, but I am currently studying at Cambridge, so in effect I comprise an international menagerie of birds [Technically I think the collective noun is an aviary, or a swinging groovy crash-pad]. (This should knock Sabine out of the competition, since her sole qualification was alleged bipolar disorder. However, if you would like to keep her around for the sake of having Keller-Kelly children, or for any other reason, I am bound to accede to your wishes.)

I promise to renounce American enthusiasm and be as apathetic as you like, for as long as you like. [But can you slump? So few girls know how to slump any more.] I promise to wear a pinafore when baking, and as little else as you like. [Flour. Wear flourrr.] I promise to be busy in the kitchen if you and Felicity have business to attend to. [We can get busy in the kitchen.] Unless you want me to, you know, join in. [On the flourrring board.] I even promise to accept your conversion to Mormonism as long as it is insincere and done only for the sake of polygamy. [Well, that and the signed poster of Donny Osmond.]

With all due respect,


As a voluptuous nympho semi-nun who would be equally at home in a wimple, a pinafore or a chainmail bikini Alice is in many ways ideal. Although I am not sure that she has managed to renounce the distressingly energetic American go-getting attitude properly. Promising to be apathetic in itself smacks of positive thinking and the setting of goals. Britons have an inborn sense of wu-wei, the oriental art of slumping on the sofa for hours on end, whereas Alice might be sitting there reciting 'Every day in every way I am getting slumpier and slumpier.' On the other hand, I have no idea why I set this condition in the first place: a certain amount of slumpiness is appealing, but obviously one wouldn't want a wife who sat on her arse all day, or nothing would get done in the kitchen. Or the garden.

(Addendum: I have just remembered that my thing for slumpy girls stems from my crush on Clavdia Chauchat in 'The Magic Mountain', whose slovenly stoop and sloppy habit of allowing the door to slam shut drove Hans Castorp wild. She was adorable, with her braids and her bitten fingernails, and her raging tuberculosis.

There must be a slumper among whatever permutation of wives I choose. Sabine the invalid would seem to fit the bill perfectly and I notice that Alice, like Minty, has no objection to sharing with her. Perhaps if I have her to slump on the couch with and someone energetic like Alice or Minty to fetch things for us.

But I note that so far I have no tubercular entrants. If any potential applicants are coughing up blood, please let me know.)

Vidalia writes:

I would like to submit a (slightly late) entry to your marriage contest. I am 16 years old and I have won numerous baking contests. I have also been featured on the public access television show “Miss Helga’s House of Correction" [Yet another 'Weakest Link' clone]. My only requisite is that I like to be spanked if I ever displease you in any way. [Lordy. Another one. Is a man's work never done?] If I have not had a good spanking, I have a predisposition to lock myself in closets, cabinets, and other depositories for days at a time and go into neurasthenic seizures but since it will take away from the time I would normally spend baking cakes I promise to cut down. After all, marriage is based on compromise, and if I were to become Mrs. Kelly I’d have to compromise my values a little, as you will have to compromise yours by putting on leather chaps [What am I, Peter Mandelson? What am I, the gayboy here? And I hope you mean chaps as in cowboy leggings rather than 'chaps' as in 'gentlemen'] and allowing me to make love to you to the tune of “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode. [Um. Acceptable. As long as you also allow me to dress up as Jesus and make love to you to the Lone Ranger theme tune]. I would also like to add that I’m a part-time lesbian [Just to keep your hand in. US version: Do you get dental with that?] - which is more than the other girls in this contest could say. [Miaow!]

I include pictures of me in my school uniform and of a cake I recently baked.

Sincerely, Vidalia


Vidalia (L) and Cake (R): get that scrollwork!
Brilliant caption about covering with whipped cream to be inserted later

I am alarmed to note that Vidalia is the second entrant to demand that I spank her until my arm goes numb. When it was established in the 1970s that men were no longer required to beat women regularly and often it was a huge stride forward for the male rights movement and I am sorry to see those advances are being eroded.

Lupe Gonzales writes:

Dearest Sir,
  I am intrigued and delighted that such an eligible bachelor as yourself is seeking a wife. [Well, my mother is getting old, bless her.] I would be delighted to serve you in this role. I learned exquisite Brazilian cooking whilst growing up in Sao Paulo. [Mmm!] Working in the kitchens of a restaurant by night and giving rock climbing lessons by day, [knowing how to rock-climb could come in handy in bed, if you know what I'm saying] I have amassed a sizable amount of money. [Hmm. Hmm. Please go on.] But alas, I have no financial know-how, so I would be most pleased to leave my money in your most capable hands [Hmm. Hmm. Hmm very hmm] and be content to serve you as a devoted wife and servant.
Most tenderly,

Miss Gonzales gives me pause for thought. Life is not all cakes and sexual perversion and tuberculosis. I must plan for my future. How many of the other entrants will be able to support me in the manner which a man looks for in a wife? Perhaps future entries should include a financial statement or short description of prospects.

I am given further pause by the following communique issued from the Marabou Cave deep in the heart of the Arizona desert:

We in the Marabou Nighty Brigade of Phoenix feel that your Marriage Competition entrants should all be disqualified. Where were they when their master was under attack? Not once did I see even one of them offer a cake, much less acts of violence. You need a protectress...just in case. And any good woman would throw herself in front of a bullet (or a rugby bat, or a plate of bland food... whatever it is you people throw at each other there). I would have at least expected the Amish bird to offer to raise a barn in which the Americans could train, or the little S&M chippy to offer whips and chains.

Leaving aside the blatant cultural imperialism and psychic genocide in broad daylight implied in the bland food crack - and by the way, would you like Freedom Fries with your Happy Meal? - Colonel Verte raises a good point. How many of the entrants would be able to provide the protection and security a man looks for from a wife? A man in my position naturally has many enemies and perhaps future entrants should include a brief disquisition on their combat skills and the speed of their reflexes.

Next there is the following proposal from Avda, which starts off promisingly:

Mr. Michael Kelly,
   I wish to marry you. Not only am I proficient in the art of cake making I make lovely pasta sauces and garlic bread. [Bella bella!] If your tastes run more to the basic I can make sandwiches and frolic in a small pool for awhile. These other women pose no threat to me as my batches of pasta sauce will accomodate a number of people. The small pool perhaps two more in a tight fit. [Rowwwrrr!] I will request that you entertain me with brief tirades on pop culture and the internet, but while doing so I will clip your toenails [With your teeeth] and buff them [With your tongggue]. I do not offer you undying devotion in the way these other women do however I will promise to remain vaguely enchanted with you for several months. [Whaaat? You whore! WHORE! Avda the whore!]
   Avda [a whore]

Really, that is too much. For the record, total devotion and obedience is mandatory - and will be enforced - by denial of Penis Privileges if necessary. Moreover any wife caught looking even remotely disenchanted or dissatisfied, or failing to bake regularly, will have her head shaved and be thrown out naked into the street with the word 'Whore' painted across her backside.

Another inconstant jade is Slana, who feels forced to withdraw from the contest for the piffling reason that she is now married to someone else. I am tempted to sue her for trifling with My affections. I believe any reasonable court would at least grant me visitation rights to her castle.

Finally and more hearteningly, Jo the Amish child-bride, who was suspended last time pending a steward's inquiry, has written to clear things up - and inform me of a startling development:

Dearest Michael:

After a long year of waiting for an update on the Marriage Competition, I was surprised and saddened to see that I might be ousted. To explain: my mother is a surprisingly liberal Amish woman [Note to self: insert gag here about liberal Amish being allowed things mentioned in the Manic Street Preachers' 'The Holy Bible' or The Vogue Style Bible or something]. As for father, he's started selling goat's milk via eBay. I hope this satisfies Your curiosity. Alas, I have more disturbing news:

I am no longer a possible child-bride, now being eighteen years of age. I have journeyed far from home to the Sorbonne University in Paris. I have renounced my home and religion, in light of the new and disturbing world I have discovered. I am a Bohemian, an intellectual. I chain-smoke. I drink. I swear in French. [Sacre nom de Jerry Lewis!] My friends and I gather for wild sex and discussions about Sartre. ['Alors. Jean le Bog-Eye a dit, si vous cherchez l'authenticité dans l'intéret d'authenticité, vous n'êtes plus authentique. Maintenant, smearez-vous mon derriere avec le Johnson's Bébé-oil.'] And I wear a beret.

Think of the wife You could find in me: the humble, eager-to-please Amish girl, and the independent, adventurous academic. We would feast on my delicious cakes, followed by delirious love-making, cigarettes, and devil-may-care laughter. Baise les autres! [Oh la la! Baste the otters indeed]


PS I enclose a recent picture

Sacre couer de Hitchcock!
Jo today

I think on reflection Jo may be...but wait! Stop the presses. Here is a late-breaking entry, from Erin. She sends no letter but encloses a picture which says it all.

Erin: leading by a neck?

For hell's sake. I am getting no further forward. This must be decided soon. When you start to notice that your cat walks like Marilyn Monroe, you know it is time to do something about your sex life. Tune in next year for the thrilling finale, maybe. Remember, whoever is the eventual winner, no-one will really lose, since merely being considered by Me will raise your eligibility in the eyes of other men and you will probably be able to pick up a sheik or a prince or something as a consolation prize. Of course, the winner, like Semele in Handel's opera, can look forward to a lifetime of 'Endless pleasure, endless love' - assuming the sight of My nakedness does not cause her to burst into flames.

More Answers to Correspondents


[PS I may have mislaid some entries due to a deleted mail account and the filing incompetence which terminated my promising civil service career (and incidentally led to some suspected terrorists being nominated for OBE's rather than deported). If I have overlooked any proposals feel free to give me a nudge unless you have come to your senses in the meantime.]